The show must go on

The mean old brown recluse spider

I don’t go to the doctor very often. But after much prodding from my wife, Linda, and friends I went, probably a day too late, with my little spider bite.

As you know by now, Darrell Marecle, Boyd Yarbrough and I have been putting together a musical exhibit called Lee County Originals which breaks on Saturday, Sept. 1.

We’ve been collecting old records, photos, paperwork, instruments and other memorabilia from across the state to put the exhibit together with. I suspect the eight-legged critter had built himself a home inside one of the instruments and didn’t like being evicted.

Most of this stuff was stored in closets, storage sheds, attics, garages and like — places that usually aren’t air conditioned and therefore perfect condos for spiders and other bugs.

I think I got bit on the left elbow either Monday, Aug. 20 or Tuesday, Aug. 21. Anyway by Tuesday evening my elbow was kinda scaly, very red and I was running fever. I didn’t think a whole lot about it.

I’d been bitten by a Black Widow when I was in my mid-20s and never went to the doctor. I just iced it, took ibuprofen and put a Band-Aid on it. It burned, itched and swelled a little — but was gone in a couple weeks. So Wednesday, I finished the paper as usual but noticed I was sweating a lot, had more fever and the arm had swelled a good bit.

Regardless, I headed out to the Oren Dunn City Museum to work on the exhibit some more. My good friend Tony Lute ran me off and insisted I go see a doctor.

My wife chastised me later, saying “You won’t listen to me, but listen to one of your buddies.”

So I went to Fulton Family Medical Clinic to see my regular doctor, Matt Taylor, but he was booked solid so I saw Farris Burns, FNP-C, who confirmed I’d been bitten by a spider.

By the time I arrived I’d already determined the critter was a brown recluse. Brown recluse spider venom includes a neurotoxic component, that is known to cause chills, fever or, in some rare cases, death. I got the first two and so far, have avoided the later.

We first tried the antibiotic Bactrim. I was lying in bed Wednesday night my temp bouncing around between 102 and 103 and I got to thinking, when I wasn’t hallucinating. I had a football tab to sell and put together; and that exhibit to complete — but knew I couldn’t do much with that fever.

I got up Thursday a.m., still feeling rough but thought I could handle driving around and putting papers in the racks. I got some of them done and came back to the office. I laid down on the loveseat in Linda’s office and really hated to move to do anything.

I got Linda to call the clinic and see if I could switch to another antibiotic. By then I’d read up on this little demon and knew its poison would destroy not just skin through (necrosis) but would destroy some of my red blood cells, and the area where the bite occurred would actually rot if I didn’t get the right antibiotic and enough of it. I finally went home.

They had called in another antibiotic — Doxycycline. I felt much better about that one. It’s been used to treat typhus, Rocky mountain spotted fever, lyme disease and Malaria. I took one and climbed into the bed.

I was racked with fever, my arm was terribly red and swelling more and I was beginning to think I’ve never be able to make Saturday, Sept. 1. I had no back-up plan for the paper or the exhibit, so I did the only thing I knew to do — pray.

Every time I’d wake up, I’d pray again. By Friday morning the fever was still there but 100, so I took another dose and headed to work. I only worked until about 2 p.m.

Saturday I put about half of the football tab together.

With the help of Cecil May’s book on Providence I taught our men’s class Sunday. I could feel the fever while I was standing and I was sweating like Niagara, but that is part of the heal.

As part of my talk, I emphasized you had to let God be in control before you could expect any providence. I was speaking to myself. The song lyrics crossed my mind — “If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.”

Monday I returned to see Farris. My temp was normal. My blood pressure was a little elevated 158/98 but that was most likely the poison, which would stay in my system at least 10 days and just nerves.

We decided to stay the course. The only “gorilla in the room” to watch was the “rot” issue. The bite would rot some, but if it started to look like a lunar crater I’d probably need to do something else.

I went into work and finished the football tab. It’s Wednesday a.m., and when I changed the Band-Aid this a.m. a couple of layers of skin came off with the old one. But thus far, that’s all the pain I’ve had.

The poison should reach its peak today, so hopefully I’ll officially start healing tonight.

Thanks for all of you have called and sent emails about your concerns, and especially those who added me to their prayer lists.

Maybe you’ve run into something of late that has put a roadblock in front of your plans.

That’s life.

“That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” Matthew 5:45.

There should be plenty of sunshine Saturday, Sept. 1. Come on out to the Oren Dunn City Museum. Gate opens at 2:30 p.m.

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